Friday, October 7, 2016

Rice pudding with date palm jaggery...


'Durga Puja' is the biggest festival for us Bengalis around the world. The idol of Goddess Durga defeating the demon 'Mahisasura' which is worshiped during the five day long celebration is the true representation of feminine power where the divine mother is saving everyone from the evil demon. The Goddess is also worshiped all over India and the celebration is famously known as Navaratri, where nine days of fasting and swatwik food is taken as ritual.

In Bengal Goddess Durga is more like a daughter, who visits her father's place along with her children. During the five days of the festival Goddess Durga is worshiped along with her children, Ganesh, Lakshmi, Karthik and Saraswati. And this is the reason all the daughters till date long to go to her father's place during this time and most of them do so. Goddess Durga is more than a deity here, she is like the daughter in the family who stays away with her husband and gets a chance to meet her parents for these five days.


This is not only for the daughters but for all is the festival of homecoming. Whoever stays away from home for work or other reason comes back to meet their family. New dresses are bought, homes get cleaned up. The roads and alleys decked up with lights, makeshift pandals are made with intricate artistic creativity to celebrate this extravagant festival.


Every festival has it's own food, Durga puja has so many. Sweets are made to offer the Goddess. Other than that people indulge over various scrumptious food both at sophisticated restaurants as well as from the street food vendors.

My mother makes Payes or rice pudding for our friends and family. Payes is a signature Bengali dessert where rice is cooked in milk. Sugar or date palm jaggery (khejur gur) is used as sweetener. The rice used for making the payes is very special, a small grain, fragrant variety cultivated in Bengal named Gobindobhog. Today I'm sharing the payes recipe the way my mother makes it.


The payes or Bengali style rice pudding when made with sugar, the dessert is flavored with crushed green cardamom. When date palm jaggery is used to sweeten the payes no other flavoring is added, as date palm jaggery itself has an unique flavor and taste. Date palm jaggery is available during winter, I usually store a year whole supply of it in my refrigerator and use as needed. So for this year puja I made khejur gur-er payes or Bengali style rice pudding with date palm jaggery. My mother adds sweetened condensed milk before adding the date palm jaggery to the milk, as adding the jaggery may curdle the milk spoiling the pudding. I follow her instructions to the tee when it comes to making payes and other Bengali desserts.


Things needed to make Rice Pudding with Date Palm Jaggery:

(Serves: 6-8)
  • Rice (gobindobhog variety recommended): 1/4 cup
  • Whole milk: 1 lt
  • Date palm jaggery (melted) as per taste
  • Condensed milk (sweetened):  3-4 tbsp
  • Dry fruits as per choice

Steps of making Rice Pudding with Date Palm Jaggery:

1. Wash the rice well and soak for 15-20 min in water.

2. In a heavy bottom pan boil the milk and let it reduce over low heat for 15-20 min. Use full fat milk for best result.

3. Add the rice and cook till the rice is cooked, about 20 min. Keep stirring in between.

4. Add condensed milk, mix well. This helps to sweeten the milk, so when jaggery is added the milk won't curdle.

5. Gradually add the date palm jaggery, keep mixing.

6. Add dry fruits, switch off heat. Let it cool down, serve at room temperature or chilled.


Wishing you all a happy and prosperous Durga Puja and Navratri.


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1 comment:

  1. Dear Chitrangada di, I tried your payesh recipe last week and for the first time I could make it with perfection. ��
    Thanks again for sharing such a SWEET recipe. Lovely photos too, especially the one with lotus and Maa Durga in the background. ��

    ReplyDelete